man wrapped in a blanket blowing his nose

New words – 10 January 2022

man wrapped in a blanket blowing his nose
Hiraman / E+ / Getty

supercold noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.kəʊld/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.koʊld/
a cold that has more serious symptoms than most colds and is often mistaken for Covid-19

A pharmacy chain has released advice for people unsure whether they’re suffering from coronavirus or a “supercold” … As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, there has been a surge in cold and flu cases. Some of these feel more aggressive than usual following last winter’s Covid-19 restrictions, leading to the nickname “supercold”.
[, 13 November 2021]

holistorexia noun [U]
UK /həˌlɪs.təˈə/ US /hoʊˌlɪs.təˈə/
a mental illness where someone has an extreme obsession with their health and wellness

Hour-long meditations, ever-changing diet fads and an aversion to medical professionals – these could all be signs of so-called “holistorexia”. There’s a warning that some people can get so obsessed with wellness and “all things health” that it can actually make them ill. It can involve “alternative” therapies and practices that can prove time-consuming, expensive and even dangerous for those who take or follow them.
[, 30 June 2021]

vaccine envy noun [U]
resentment felt by someone waiting to receive the Covid-19 vaccination towards people who have already been vaccinated

Many of us have experienced loss during the pandemic — the loss of loved ones, jobs, routines, and a sense of safety. These losses wear on our patience and our ability to deal with strong feelings. As a result, waiting for a vaccine can seem especially difficult and lead us to vaccine envy. It might even feel like a new kind of loss. But the good news is that there are things we can do to cope while we wait for our shot.
[, 30 April 2021]

About new words

woman with grey hair, sunglasses and brightly-coloured scarf driving an open-topped car

New words – 3 January 2022

woman with grey hair, sunglasses and brightly-coloured scarf driving an open-topped car
Andreas Kuehn / The Image Bank / Getty

Queenager noun [C]
UK /ˈkwiːnˌeɪ.dʒəʳ/ US /ˈkwiːnˌeɪ.dʒɚ/
a woman of middle age or older who leads a busy life, dresses stylishly and enjoys having fun

On the small screen, it is Queenagers extraordinaires Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin who have rewritten the rules with their hit TV show Grace and Frankie. This comedy is a revolutionary portrayal of two women in their 80s, who despite many obstacles, have no trouble having a good time. In fact, it’s the ultimate Queenage fantasy.
[, 6 June 2021]

silvfluencer noun [C]
UK /ˈsɪlv.flu.ən.səʳ/ US /ˈsɪlv.flu.ən.sɚ/
a middle-aged or elderly person who encourages people to buy items such as clothing and make-up by recommending them on social media, and is paid by companies to do so

The silvfluencers are all about refined eccentricity … Despite having reached an age where they know what suits them, they’re not afraid to make a so-called wardrobe mistake. They mix vintage Yves Saint Laurent with & Other Stories, bright colours with optimistic prints, red lipstick with grey hair. They strike unstudied poses and post refreshingly unedited captions.
[, 9 July 2021]

the Elastic Generation noun [S]
/ðiː əˈlæs.tɪk ˌdʒen.əˈreɪ.ʃən/
the group of women aged between 50 and 70 who are well off and have a broad range of interests, seen by the advertising industry as consumers who are likely to spend a lot of money on products, travel etc.

With the Elastic Generation being fashion and beauty’s biggest spenders right now, it only makes sense that older women should be seen representing their off-runway counterparts in the industry. Naomi Campbell … closed the show at Saint Laurent’s Paris Fashion Week Show last season, an honour not usually reserved for those with 49 years under their belts.
[, 14 February 2020]

About new words

a line of people in office clothing walking down a staircase

New words – 27 December 2021

Robert Daly / OJO Images / Getty

the Great Resignation noun [S]
a trend in the employment market during 2020 and 2021 that has seen a much larger number of people than usual resign from their job

More people are quitting their jobs, and it could shake the world of work forever. But are we making incorrect generalisations about the Great Resignation? Workers are quitting their jobs. A lot of them. So many, in fact, we’re still smack in the middle of the so-called Great Resignation … There are several reasons why workers are walking away – poor working conditions, fears of contracting Covid-19 and existential epiphanies among them.
[, 29 October 2021]

returnment noun [U]
UK /rɪˈtɜːn.mənt/ US /rɪˈtɝːn.mənt/
going back to work after a period of time not in paid employment

In 2012, I burnt out and suffered from depression, and when I launched my own business, three years later, it was terrifying. Nobody returned my phone calls because I was dismissed as “just a housewife”, and I felt incredibly lonely. Whether you’ve been out of work for 18 months or 18 years, “returnment” can be challenging – but it’s not always as difficult as it might seem.
[, 19 October 2021]

overemployment noun [U]
UK /ˌəʊ.vər.ɪmˈplɔɪ.mənt/ US /ˌoʊ.vɚ.ɪmˈplɔɪ.mənt/
the practice of a remote worker secretly having more than one full-time job and working just enough hours at each one for their employers not to notice

The overemployment trend has gained steam with the rise of remote work, which has often meant less employer supervision of workers. This means that juggling multiple jobs in secret is usually more feasible for wealthy, white-collar workers since their work can frequently be done remotely, which isn’t often the case for blue-collar workers.
[, 17 November 2021]

About new words

two men having a conversation in a room decorated with soft furnishings, plants and books

New words – 20 December 2021

two men having a conversation in a room decorated with soft furnishings, plants and books
Westend61 / Getty

resimercial adjective
UK /ˌrez.ɪ.ˈmɜː.ʃᵊl/ US /ˌrez.ə.ˈmɝː.ʃᵊl/
A resimercial office combines elements of “residential” and “commercial”, with comfortable furniture and design that makes it look more like a room in a home.

Remote work has been extremely stressful for many people but others have grown accustomed to certain domestic comforts … An office-furniture dealer told me that some employers are aware of this. “How do we bridge that gap [and] bring people back to the office? Maybe if we design it in a way that is more resimercial, more homey, they’ll feel a little bit more comfortable in coming back and using the space,” he said.
[, 21 September 2021]

broken plan adjective
UK /ˌbrəʊ.kᵊn.ˈplæn/ US /ˌbroʊ.kᵊn.ˈplæn/
A broken plan room or space is divided into smaller areas for different activities.

For years the trend of open plan living has reigned supreme, yet a new contender is entering the ring – broken plan living. A twist on open plan, broken plan retains that sense of openness, while also offering more privacy and cosy nooks. It’s a chance to get creative with your home, allowing you to play with shelves, partitions, and even half walls … You don’t need to undertake a massive renovation project to achieve a broken plan space. If you already enjoy an open layout, but you want to divide up space, get creative with your furniture.
[, 11 March 2021]

probiotic architecture noun [U]
UK /ˌprəʊ.baɪˈɒt.ɪk.ˈɑː.kɪ.tek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˌproʊ.baɪˈɑː.t̬ɪk.ˈɑːr.kə.tek.tʃɚ/
the practice of designing and making buildings that can host certain types of bacteria that help keep people healthy

Richard Beckett is a researcher working in bio-augmented design … His vision is to create buildings which – like the human body – could allow specific microbial communities (also known as ‘the microbiome’) to grow on them and in turn help us to fight infectious disease … He calls the concept “probiotic architecture”. “These indoor microbiomes can influence our health,” says Richard, “and I’m interested in how we might design buildings and their microbiomes to make buildings healthy and more resilient.”
[, 19 January 2021]

About new words

close-up photograph of someone's hand using a smartphone in a dark room

New words – 13 December 2021

close-up photograph of someone's hand using a smartphone in a dark room
Jub Rubjob / Moment / Getty

tappigraphy noun [U]
the study of how, how often and in what patterns someone taps the keys on their mobile phone, thought to provide information on their behaviour and their physical and mental health

Arko Ghosh is the company’s cofounder and a neuroscientist at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “Tappigraphy patterns” – the time series of my touches – can, he says, confidently be used not only to infer slumber habits (tapping in the wee hours means you are not sleeping) but also mental performance level (the small intervals in a series of key-presses represent a proxy for reaction time), and he has published work to support it.
[, 7 November 2021]

killware noun [U]
UK /ˈkɪl.weəʳ/ US /ˈkɪl.wer/
a type of computer program used illegally to attack someone’s computer system and designed to cause people physical harm

Unlike malware and ransomware, whose sole purpose is financial gain for the attackers, killware has only one goal – causing physical harm. The name killware appeared in the media after the highly publicized cyberattack on a water plant in Oldsmar, Florida … Fortunately, no killware attack has been successful so far. The moniker itself sounds a bit overhyped, and that might be true at the moment. But the reality is that hackers have a way of not only hurting us emotionally but also physically.
[, 26 October 2021]

screenome noun [C]
UK /ˈskriː.nəʊm/ US /ˈskriːn.əʊm/
a very detailed record of someone’s activity on their smartphone or tablet

If Byron Reeves has his way, the concept of “screen time” will be a relic. Instead, it will be your “screenome” that’s important … The Human Screenome Project aims to more accurately capture our digital footprint using an eyebrow-raising technique: background software that screenshots a volunteer’s phone every five seconds while it’s activated. A screenome would offer a way to study smartphones and tablets for patterns of use linked to issues such as social-media addiction and mental health problems.
[, 15 January 2020]

About new words

Our new vocabulary practice app is here

Expand your vocabulary with the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus app!

Our new vocabulary practice app is hereWe’re delighted to announce that the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus mobile app is now available to download for free from Apple and Google Play stores. This means that you can now learn English vocabulary anytime and anywhere you have an online connection, whether you’re sitting on a train, waiting for a bus or filling the minutes in a café before a friend turns up. What’s more, you can learn in a very personalized way, creating vocabulary lists that are right for you, matching both your level of English and your personal interests. Continue reading “Expand your vocabulary with the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus app!”

a metal statuette of the personification of justice: a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword

Fundamental and inalienable rights

a metal statuette of the personification of justice: a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword

by Kate Woodford

Human Rights Day is celebrated internationally on December 10th. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document which describes the rights (= things that you are allowed by law) of all human beings. To mark this very important date, we’re looking at the way the noun ‘right’ is used and the words that often come with it. Continue reading “Fundamental and inalienable rights”

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood

New words – 6 December 2021

a pink plate with crab, mussels and other seafood
Saowaluck Voraprukpisut / iStock / Getty Images Plus

blue food noun [U]
food that comes from the sea, such as fish, shellfish and seaweed

Recently, however, calls have emerged not for less fishing, but more, under the banner of a new term encompassing all seafood and aquaculture products: “blue food.” The Blue Food Alliance, launched ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, has brought together academics, policymakers, and corporate donors focused on increasing the consumption of sustainable seafood.
[, 24 October 2021]

unconscious reducer noun [C]
UK /ʌnˌkɒn.ʃəs.rɪˈdʒuː.səʳ/ US /ʌnˌkɑːn.ʃəs.rɪˈduː.səʳ/
someone who is eating less meat than they did before, but without having made a deliberate decision to do so

The unconscious reducers were said by the report to mostly be of retirement age and living with fewer people. They were found to be much less likely to experiment with cooking or refer to themselves as a ‘foodie’, preferring more traditional dishes … “How unconscious reducers think and feel about meat isn’t any different to those people who are actually increasing their meat consumption – they’re not turning away on purpose so there is a chance to re-engage them with the category,” explained AHDB senior retail insight manager Kim Malley.
[, 3 December 2020]

foodprint noun [C]
a measurement of the impact on the environment of all the processes needed to bring food to consumers

The issue of carbon “foodprints” – how much CO2 is emitted in the production, transportation, and preparation of various foods – is front-and-centre at this week’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. On Tuesday, it emerged that restaurants inside the conference centre are printing carbon estimates on their menus, alongside each item’s price … In order to reach the goals defined in the Paris Agreement, we may soon have to limit our foodprint to no more than 0.5kg of CO2 emissions per meal.
[, 4 November 2021]

About new words

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti

New words – 29 November 2021

a group of five young adults laughing and celebrating in a shower of colourful confetti
AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty

business shower noun [C]
UK /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊəʳ/ US /ˈbɪz.nɪsˌʃaʊ.ɚ/
a party held to celebrate a new start-up business, usually before its official launch

Some business showers include games, decorations and catering. Some founders even ask for gifts, providing links to business registry websites that have also become popular. Business showers generally differ from launch parties because they occur at the very early stages of a start-up, sometimes when the business is still just gestating as an idea.
[, 15 July 2021]

flippening noun [S]
The flippening is an event, expected to take place in the near future, when ethereum will overtake bitcoin as the most valuable cryptocurrency.

For those unaware, the flippening is a hypothetical event in which ETH overtakes Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization. While this hasn’t happened yet, it may not be too far off … ETH is already the top crypto held on the platform in terms of U.S. dollar amount. That could be a sign that the flippening is starting.
[, 8 July 2021]

emoticonomy noun [U]
UK /ɪ,məʊt.iˈkɒn.ə.mi/ US /ɪ,moʊt.iˈkɑː.nə.mi/
an economic system that is based on the activities people and businesses engage in to make the world a better and happier place

But arguing that capitalism should be unfettered and amoral is itself a political position. No business is without its ideals in the new “emoticonomy”. This is not a circumstance created accidentally by political parties, activists or workers, but deliberately, by businesses. It has been going on for some time.
[, 20 October 2021]

About new words

five young women wearing fashionable clothes, smiling and standing with crossed arms

New words – 22 November 2021

Delmaine Donson / E+ / Getty

bounceback wardrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔː.drəʊb/ US /ˈbaʊns.bæk.wɔːr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone owns, or wants to buy, for the period of time after lockdown, when they are back at work and going out socially again

Now, with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the great re-entry, it seems a lot of women are finding that their wardrobes are insufficient, dated, or in some way lacking the polish and pep required for their revived professional and social lives. Women spent, on average, £200 between April and June on their “bounceback wardrobes”, according to the new State of Retail Report.
[, 27 July 2021]

circular fashion noun [U]
UK /ˌsɜː.kjə.lə.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌsɝː.kjə.lɚ.ˈfæʃ.ᵊn/
clothes that are designed and made in such a way that they will last for a long time, can eventually be repaired or redesigned instead of being thrown away, and cause little or no damage to the environment

As it stands, most fashion products are made from new textiles, sold, worn, discarded and sent, eventually, to landfill … or worse, they are incinerated. Circular fashion looks to disrupt that linear trajectory, keeping clothing and materials in use through recycling, repurposing and rewearing, avoiding where possible making completely “new” products and reducing the amount of ecologically harmful waste.
[, 16 March 2020]

tourdrobe noun [C]
UK /ˈtʊə.drəʊb/ US /ˈtʊr.droʊb/
all the clothes that someone, usually a famous woman, wears when she is on a tour of several different places where she will be seen by the public and the media

And the Duchess of Sussex was also flying the flag for fashion as she brought an expansive tourdrobe to suit every kind of engagement (and her baby bump). Over 16 days in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand we saw the Duchess of Sussex in an array of international designers, from Aussie brands to British labels, and lots of American influence.
[, 2 November 2018]

About new words